When the Chiefs traded up to select Noah Gray in the fifth round, it was the move that many fans had been waiting for: the arrival of a real investment (even one in the fifth round) at tight end.
No one wants anything to happen to Travis Kelce, of course, but Chiefs fans have watched one project after another on the depth chart behind Kelce for years—from Ross Travis to Demetrius Harris to Deon Yelder—with little to show for it. Even veteran signings never seemed to bring much to the table, from Blake Bell (who is admittedly a blocker first and foremost) to Ricky Seals-Jones.
Gray entered the NFL with a one-sided skill set as a receiver and work ahead of him as a blocker. However, he also came with a reputation as a hard worker known for his intelligence, and he took to coaching well in training camp to the point the he was turning heads on a daily basis.
Buzz on Gray has cooled after he’s looked more like a rookie in recent practices and in the team’s first preseason game against the 49ers, but there’s very real talent there to build upon. As the Chiefs look to give Travis Kelce more rest during a long regular season—one that is now 17 games—Gray still looks like a player who will eventually give the Chiefs a chance to do that for a series or two each game. It just might take a half season to really find his rhythm (or for coaches to trust him enough).